Aoudhubillahi minashshaitaan nirrajeem
Reforming the inner is indeed difficult:
The pious elders didn’t pay much attention to the outwardly deeds as their reformation can be done in a minute with a mere change of intention. A be-namaazi (one who does not pray) can start praying in a minute, a beardless man can start growing the beard in a minute, a drunkard can give up drinking in a minute. A faasiq and a faajir can become pious in a minute. It was the akhlaaq of one’s inner-self such as getting rid of kibr (pride) etc. to which they paid more attention for certainly it is a very difficult task. The reformation of inner-self from spiritual diseases such as hub-e-jah (love for name and fame), kibr, jealousy, high thinking of oneself, rancor, the desire for praise etc. is very difficult. When a be-namaazi gets a righteous environment will start to pray tahajjud salah even in masjid-un-Nabawi but it is not guaranteed that one’s kibr leaves his heart this easily. A man gets the environment of Makka mukarrama and he will reach the masjid even before the prayer commences but this does not mean he will get rid of jealousy and rancor in his heart in a same manner. It is not easy to end the quest for fame and worldly things. So one can change his outer appearance quickly but the spiritual diseases goes away with time as a person keeps going on the spiritual path. In fact the weight of a person’s outer deeds solely depends on his inner self. The more his heart is clean, heavier will be his outer deeds and there will be more noor. A man is fortunate to get rid of his spiritual diseases.
A person might be establishing tahajjud salah but have rancor in his heart and have love for the world. The love for world does not necessarily mean the love for wealth but it also comprises the love for honor, fame and praises. There is a widespread disease in our society today and that is to praise the person on his face. This is like slaughtering him with a sharp knife. A person can be worthless but on continuously hearing praises he thinks high of himself. In order to get the job done, some praise others with big words making him to feel great of himself. Such an environment is expanding now. This is a disease where a person yearns for praises and he starts getting people surrounding him with praises. As far as the one who speaks the truth talking about his islaah, he won’t be in his company. Only those who falsely praise him sit with him. Our elders thus considered very easy to change the outer appearance of a person by surrounding him with a good environment that changes a be-namaazi to namaazi (the one who prays), a beardless man to a bearded man and a drunkard man into a non-alcoholic. How many come running towards masjid during the blessed environment of Ramadhan! But attaching a person’s heart to akhirah and to de-bond his heart with this dunya is very difficult. To get the zuhd of dunya and quest for akhirah takes time and with much difficulty one gets rid of spiritual diseases. Because of these inner diseases, the noor of the outer aamaal do not shine on the heart. Let Allah SWT protect us. Hubb e jhaa is said to be such a disease whose very presence is known with much difficulty. Only when you hear something related to it, you realize that you are afflicted with that disease. To know our quest for honor and fame is not so easy.
Be strict on your nafs:
It has been said that to lower one’s gaze is difficult and if one violates this rule, he should pray 50 units of voluntary salah. Only if one is strict on his nafs and imposes severe penalty on it, it will reform. It is very important to protect one’s gaze. The following are the signs of one’s acceptance by Allah Azzawajal are: he holds correct religious beliefs, he is steadfast in doing aamaal, he keeps away from sins and he hates the world. Once a man came to the Prophet sallallaahu alaihi wasallam and asked him sallallaahu alaihi wasallam to show him such an amal by which he becomes beloved to Allah Azzawajal and also to the people. Our beloved Prophet sallallaahu alaihi wasallam replied, “Do not love this world, you will become beloved to Allah Azzawajal and do not yearn for what people have or throw desirous look on their possessions, you will become beloved of people”. The sign of hard heartedness and rusted heart is no hatred for sins and no attachment to Allah’s obedience. Let Allah Azzawajal protect us. The hatred for sins is very essential because only then he can save himself from committing sins. A very effective way of saving oneself from such a state is to keep oneself away from the sinful environment. A man may not commit sins but if he keeps sitting in the sinful environment, he will reach a state when he will not hate the sins. This is like a person who lives in cow’s shed. After a time, he won’t sense the foul smell of cow dung. In fact when he is out of shed, he falls unconscious. When people tried to bring in him consciousness with different things, he didn’t gain any consciousness and when a man brought cow dung near his nose, he immediately woke up. Similarly when a person becomes accustomed to a sinful environment, not just he loses hatred for sins but he enjoys sinning. Let Allah Azzawajal protect us. When a person is in a righteous environment, Allah Azzawajal grants him the wealth of righteousness. How many of us are here who didn’t even know that we have such and such spiritual disease until Allah Azzawajal sent a man of clean heart to us and then we start feeling uneasiness of our sinful environment! People say we don’t have good intention and good perception but actually we have become just like how our environment was. So not having any hatred towards sins and desire to do obedient acts are a sign of hard heartedness. As I said before an effective way of coming out of it is to create a righteous environment around us and in case we are to go to the sinful environment to meet our needs, then try to move out of the place as fast as you could. If not it would become very difficult to sense the sins as he will start considering it to be something very normal by seeing that continuously around him.
Prefer health to voluntary acts:
It has been said that one’s health should be prioritized over recommended or voluntary acts. For example, after fajr salah sitting in the masjid waiting for ishraaq salah is a voluntary act and accordingly you get reward. But if one’s health demands that he goes for a walk daily and he doesn’t get time for that except at this particular time, then going for walk in a corrupt free environment is better for him than doing the voluntary act. You can go to house and pray ishraaq. On one hand if you have voluntary acts and on the other hand your health, then take more care of your health. Preserving one’s health is better than recommended acts and going towards woods for a walk is better than sitting in masjid waiting for ishraaq with devotion. One can postpone the ishraaq and can even pray in house. We should give importance for health as we are weak people. You would have noticed that when you are healthy, you find pleasure in reading Quran and other voluntary acts, and one gets strength to do many righteous deeds. If one gets affected by health, he won’t even be able to do what he is doing already. If one has headache, hip pain etc. what can he do? Let health be taken care of. SubhanAllah! Our deen is very moderate but if you start understanding the deen in your own way, then it would look difficult.
Pay attention to only Allah’s pleasure:
It has been said that the student of haqq is not bothered about others hostility as his main concern is Allah’s pleasure. One should not create enmity intentionally but if it happens while preaching the truth, then Allah Azzawajal is there for help. One should concentrate only on Allah’s pleasure. Most of the times it so happens that people’s displeasure saves one from many calamities. The friends might be displeased with you for becoming pious but the deen saves you from many calamities. So when I am indulged in pleasing Allah Azzawajal, then why should I care about the creatures’ displeasure? What can be more dangerous than the sin? And what can be more dangerous than the sinful environment? So if someone becomes angry while pleasing Allah Azzawajal, you should not worry. Who knows from how many sins you were saved! And from how many calamities you were saved! So you should not worry about it. We should only think that our Allah Azzawajal do not become displeased with us.
To summarize, three points have been emphasized. (1) To reform one’s outer appearance is easier than reforming the inner self from pride, jealousy etc. and in fact one gets divine help to perform more outer deeds when his heart gets purified. (2) The sign of hardheartedness is not feeling hatred towards the sins and affinity towards righteous deeds and (3) The student of Allah Azzawajal or the student of truth should care only about Allah’s pleasure and not the creatures’ pleasure. Let Allah Azzawajal help us all to act on what we hear, write and read.